View Full Version : 9 weeks to train for a 10 mile open water swim

August 22nd, 2010, 06:37 PM
Help! I have mashed potatoes for a brain! One of my friends found this 10 mile open water swim, in a river, and has convinced me to go. We started training 9 weeks before the event. So I was used to swimming 3000 a day, every other day. Now we're trying to swim 3-4000 MWF, and then we get in 5-6000 on Sat & Sun. I am dying. OMG, I'm beginning to wonder if I've lost my sanity, or what. Do you really think I can do this? :confused: Any great suggestions on how to REALLY train effectively without killing myself in the process? :afraid: I used to race the 1500 when I was a kid, but that was, oh, only 35 years ago or so. The race is Oct 16th -- any great ideas would be MOST appreciated!!

That Guy
August 22nd, 2010, 07:24 PM
Do a long continuous swim every Saturday until the race. Your body will get used to tackling a longer swim on that day of the week, preparing you for the race. If you can make that long swim an open water swim, even better, but it's not necessary. On race day, swim at warmup pace for a long time. If you feel like you can swim faster, try picking up the pace... but you may find yourself deciding to come back down to warmup pace again. (My use of the words "warmup pace" are almost like code here. When you have race adrenaline going, your impression of what is warmup pace is a bit different than normal. More than likely, you'll really be swimming at main set pace, which is right where you want to be. But keep telling yourself, "warmup pace... nice and easy... etc" :))

August 22nd, 2010, 07:31 PM
10 miles in a river, take advantage of the river flow. Stay in the current if you are going down river. Out of the current going up river.

Should take less then 5 hours. More like under 4 hours. I used to do lots of race pace 100s also 2hr swims 2X a day. I like 1hr swims, 2hr swims, never more then 3hrs. Through in some 500s and 200s. Lots of race pace swimming, 100s 200s, 300s.

August 22nd, 2010, 07:55 PM
I was thinking about going to this race as well, but after doing some research and some test swims, decided it would be too much trouble to prepare for it. I'd rather spend my time working on pool events.

There were three big showstoppers for me, and it wasn't all about yardage.

1. Refueling during the race. Apparently you can never have enough glycogen in your muscles at the beginning of this kind of race to finish it, so you have to consume some quantity of carbohydrate-laden sports drink or gel during the race. At least some swimmers carry gel packs in their suits for this, and also make regular stops. You need to figure out how much and what kind of fuel you need, and how frequently. It's an individual thing. Experienced long-distance swimmers know all about this, but not me.

2. Cold water tolerance. I tend to get leg cramps after swimming in cold water for more than about 90 minutes. A 10 mile swim might take as long as 5 hours. Maybe there's something I could do better with electrolytes, but that's another puzzle I'm not terribly interested in solving.

3. Stroke mechanics, tendonitis, and etc. After doing a couple of 5K test swims, I noticed my shoulders were yakking back at me rather more than they usually do. I think my stroke mechanics, which are fine for a 3K workout in a pool, or a 1650 in a meet, are maybe not as good as I thought they were. Or maybe I'm just getting old. In any case, I'm not enthusiastic about risking an injury preparing for this event or doing it.

In summary, I am in ever greater awe of these long distance swimmers. They have to deal with problems we sissy pool swimmers never even think about. And I didn't even mention the infamous, carnivorous, Tennessee River Man-Eating Eel! Long distance swimming is a completely different sport.

August 22nd, 2010, 08:26 PM
Consuming a diet high in omega 3 and supplement with high dosages of vitamin E (900 IU, I used to take 3000 IU vitamin E every day, the week before a race) increases glycogen storage in the muscles, also the day of race reduce how much iron you take in it reduces the action of vitamin E.

August 22nd, 2010, 08:38 PM
You guys are awesome!! Thanks for your advice! :applaud::applaud::applaud:

What carnivorous man-eating eels? I was told there were no scary critters in there!! :afraid:

And, I was also told not to expect the advantage of a current :(

Last weekend, my training partner & I did a 500 w/up & then 3 x 1500's on Sat & then on Sunday we did 800 w/up & 2 x 1500's & 300 c/down. Yesterday we did 300 w/up, 3 x 1500, 2 x 800, 200 c/down, and today was an 800 w/up, 1500, 30 x 100 on a mod interval (not telling the interval, it would be embarrassing!) with the last 200 used to cool down. Of course it's LC on the weekend, and SC during the week due to our work schedules etc. And during the week, we are going to try and go three days, and get in at least 4000, with 2000 of it straight each day.

My arms are soooo tired! Tell me it's gonna get better!! I'm beginning to have doubts....

I just want to say that I did it, I don't have to win it.:)

August 22nd, 2010, 11:22 PM
Hi - I'm not really in a position to say much about training for a 10 mile swim. It's my feeling that racking up days of 3-mile swims might not be progressing you that much, and might be wearing you down mentally.

I would do a really long swim about once a week or once every other week, and use that swim to test the nutritional and fluid intake that you expect to follow on the day of the river swim. It's useful to keep going so that you can learn how your body will respond to a repetitive demand on it: where is your failure point now? What can you do to push it out a little farther? Where do your legs cramp up?

I would continue to do some shorter interval training, which builds and firms the conditioning base.

I would not swim every day but do some drylands: running, rowing, whatever. And I would have some solid rest days, which means sub-maximal variety rather than lying around doing nothing.

In sum, I think you could improve the effectiveness of your training now, and perhaps (re)consider this swim a plum to top off increasingly longer swims over the next 12 months.

August 23rd, 2010, 04:24 AM
george is on track here.... nutrition is the key to increasing your weekly work load without getting overly fatigued.
i'd recommend post workout protein shakes, pre and during swim carbos and lots of h2o.
you should work on a feed plan for the swim as well.

August 23rd, 2010, 07:32 AM
george is on track here.... nutrition is the key to increasing your weekly work load without getting overly fatigued.
i'd recommend post workout protein shakes, pre and during swim carbos and lots of h2o.
you should work on a feed plan for the swim as well.

Speaking of long swims, how are things going in Dover? I spoke to Dave C. last night. He said the weather is awful. He has one swimming waiting to make an attempt but doesn't think it will happen.

When are you scheduled for your crossing?